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TECHNOLOGICAL SPECIFICATION
AT CATAL HUYUK c. 6400 BC

This archeological site at the south edge of the Anatolian Plateau in modern Turkey was excavated by James Mellaart between 1961 and 1963. He described Catul Huyuk as a major Neolithic site, yielding rich evidence of a remarkable advanced civilization that flourished in the seventh and early sixth millennium BC.

The following extract from The Shining Ones quotes Mellaart’s key observations.

Very few signs of industry have been found in the priestly quarter excavated at Catal Huyuk, apart from such normal domestic operations as the preparation of food, the baking of bread and slingstones in the ovens, the cutting of wood for fuel, awls for the mending of clothes, and bodkins for the repair of mats and basketry – primary operations that did not need skilled labour.

On the other hand, there is no evidence that any of the more specialised crafts were performed in this quarter – such as the chipping of obsidian tools and weapons, the polishing of stone tools, the drilling and manufacture of beads, the weaving of cloth etc. The objects found in the houses and shrines of the quarter are all finished products, and the area of the workshops where these times were made, sold or bartered, must lie elsewhere on the mound. The amount of technological specialization at Catal Huyuk is one of the striking features in this highly developed society which was obviously in the vanguard of Neolithic progress. The result of this specialization is equally apparent, for the quality and refinement of nearly everything made here is without parallel in the contemporary Near East. The priests and priestesses evidently did not bother to weave their own cloth or chip their own tools, they went to the bazaar and utilised the handiwork of others. Nor did they reap their own grain or spin their own wool, and the idea of a home-industry was evidently frowned upon by these elegant sophisticates [our emphasis]. Out of over two hundred rooms we have but one sickle and less than a dozen cores of obsidian, a single spindle-whorl and not a single loom-weight. However, there was evidence for fourteen cultivated food-plants, a great deal of cloth and hundreds of finely finished obsidian weapons. Consequently one is better informed about the actual artefacts which these people used than about the technology of their manufacturing processes, many of which remain to be studied.

How for example, did they polish a mirror of obsidian, a hard volcanic glass, without scratching it and how did they drill holes through stone beads (including obsidian), holes so small that no find modern steel needle can penetrate? [our emhasis] When and where did they learn to smelt copper and lead, metals attested at Catal Huyuk since level IX, c 6400 B.C..

James Mellaart, in this passage, has attested to the presence in Catal Huyuk of an elite class of elegant sophisticates with an unexpected, and anachronistic, level of technological expertise. He calls these sophisticates priests and priestesses, without any substantial justification. He just appears to be following the norms of modern archaeological reasoning, form which any practice not understood is classified as religious, and any figure or figurine not immediately recognisable as of standard human form becomes a deity, or a cult object. This reasoning does not allow for any experimentation or imagination on the part of the sculptor. The sometimes grotesque drawings of younger school-children can only rarely be termed religious.

In our terms, and in the context of this study, we have to call these sophisticates – Shining Ones, or Anannage, or Angels – the subordinate colleagues of Anu.

From The Shining Ones by Christian and Joy O’Brien

Ancient Technology Display Prints and Key Texts


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